How or why does the wax of a candle catch on fire?
I had a very scary experience a few days ago. The two wick candle I was burning literally caught fire. All the wax int he candle was on fire, and huge leaping flames were coming out of the top. My house could have burned down. I was pretty upset. We had to put it out with a fire extinguisher, and I just got done spending over an hour cleaning up the charred shards of glass and wax everywhere in my bathroom. It was awful, and almost makes me nervous to trust candles. I did nothing wrong, and in fact trimmed the wicks down to almost nothing before lighting. Very scary and unsettling.
I thought this would be a question about the physics involved, but it sounds more like you had a defective candle. Strictly speaking, solids and liquids do not burn- only gases. The heat of the flame liquifies the wax and it is drawn up into the wick through capillary action before evaporating and burning from a gaseous state. For what you described to have happened, the surface of the wax must have somehow gotten hot enough to combust. Since you trimmed the wicks, my best guess is that there was something other than wax in the mixture that was too flammable or in too high of a concentration.
Best to report this to the manufacturer.
I think you might be right Joshua. It was pretty scary and its of concern because others might not burn candles as safely as I try to do. Some burn them and fall asleep or near curtains or on a bookshelf, etc. Thanks so much the info and answer.
I thought this was a physics question also. As Joshua notes, solids and liquids don't burn. They have to become volatile first and become gas or vapor, which mixes with oxygen in the air for combustion to occur. When you light the wick of a candle, solid wax impregnated in the wick from the last time it was lighting melts, vaporises and burns. The heat of combustion melts wax from underneath the burn point and capillary action results in a steady stream of molten wax soaking upwards.
Its possible the two wicks were oversized and the candle went into a "runaway" state with enough heat to melt the wax at the top. Alternatively if the candle was a scented type, possibly volatile compounds containing the scent e.g. alcohol was added and this didn't mix properly but collected in a pocket at the top of the candle.
by Sam Kear 4 years ago
How do you remove candle wax stains from granite counter tops?I accidently left a couple of wax candles (red / brown) sitting directly on a granite surface and it left a stain in the stone. How can the stains be removed without causing further harm to the surface?
by Anna 6 years ago
How do you remove wax from candle holders?Do you know how to remove wax from candle holders? I'm wondering whether there's some secret to cleaning them well and quickly.
by Skarlet 5 years ago
Why does the mainstream media continue to attack Mitt Romney?Now that we know Mitt Romney has paid MORE than his fair share of taxes and donated millions to charities, why do people keep demonizing him? Obama came out after four Americans were murdered and said, "well, we've had a bad...
by alipuckett 6 years ago
How do you remove candle wax dye from fabric?Over the weekend, I spilled a large jar of dark purple candle wax all over a homemade cotton placemat. I was able to remove all of the hardened wax from the surface, but there is still a huge stain. I've tried a few different recommended...
by Christin Sander 6 years ago
How do I get a candle wax drip off of an antique buffet table without scratching it?One of my candles got overzealous and a few drips of wax got onto my antique walnut buffet table ... sigh. Any ideas how I can get it off without scraping, scratching, or otherwise ruining the wood?
by Lilbittybetty 5 years ago
What happened to Chris Hansen and "To Catch A Predator"?I was watching a parody on South Park regarding Chris Hansen. I am curious now. What really happened to 'To Catch A Predator' ? I thought it was a show that was helping children. I thought they were trying to take...
Copyright © 2018 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc. HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
|HubPages Device ID||This is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.|
|Login||This is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.|
|HubPages Traffic Pixel||This is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.|
|Remarketing Pixels||We may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.|
|Conversion Tracking Pixels||We may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.|